Hustle culture is toxic. It has become more prevalent in our generation that we have to be working 24/7 in order to be successful. Prioritizing your career’s success over family, friends and social life can sound impressive to others. But what does that leave you?
If you take a minute and think about your work ethic, which describes you the best? A) Procrastinate until the last minute, or B) Work on a project until 4 in the morning and don’t take any breaks. I feel like most people would answer A, but ultimately still get their work done. The ones who answered B, you gotta respect that. The thing is as long as the work gets done and the product is something that you are ultimately happy with, there is no right answer. Today, there is a lot of pressure to succeed and I’m sure a lot of people have heard that they don’t “work as hard as the previous generation” since we aren’t at the same place that they were at our age. The difference can be attributed to economy, politics, social circumstances and so many other reasons; but it’s created this expectation that we need to work twice as hard in order to be successful.
Working hard will Lead to Results
There is no doubt at all that working hard will lead to success and growth. Being the person that outworks everyone else will create a higher sense of value to an employer and may even lead to some sense of superiority. Hustling all the time will create drive, discipline and a stronger work ethic that encourage growth. I’ve personally worked weekends and all-nighters just to deliver a project to a client. But if I really took the time to think about it, did that put me ahead? Or did it just set the precedent that I was available to work outside business hours and am willing to set aside my own personal life for the sake of the company?
The Toxicity of this Mindset
If you are consistently trying to outdo others or prove that you don’t sleep or eat because you are working so hard, are you really succeeding? Working 10+ hour days can lead to declining mental health and lack the engagement that humans as social creatures need. Employers love to pit candidates against each other to see who is willing to sacrifice more to get the job but that isn’t the practice that we should be feeding into. There’s an air of competitiveness among peers who have entered the working industry and employers will expect entry-level and minimum wage workers to give 110% to a job with little return. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, love to glamorize hustle culture. He stated on Twitter that the number of hours required to “change the world” ranged from 80 to over 100 hours per week. Obviously hard work will pay off. But expecting the same level of sacrifice from minimum wage employees or entry-level workers who don’t know any better is a damaging mindset. It is still 100% possible to find success and growth and still have healthy boundaries between our wellness and our work.
Shifting the Mentality
Millennials and Gen Zs need to realize the power and impact that we hold in the world. We have already seen immense changes in political policies, environmental standards and human rights over the past two decades. Millennials have called for pay transparency because we realized that the only people benefitting from that policy are the employers; and standing up to employers and confronting this toxic mindset is the same. It is time to create boundaries and don’t check our work email outside of business hours. We need to learn a healthy work-life balance and not feel ashamed for prioritizing our mental wellness. This will lead to more positive changes in the workforce by making it clear that we won’t stand for outdated policies, harmful practices and toxic mindsets.
Felicite Keng is one of the graduates of the York/Sheridan Program in Design class of 2021. Catch Felicite’s work showcased at the online graduate showcase on April 20–21. Visit ysdn2021.com for more details.